EAST PALESTINE – OHIO (WKBN) – With the Penn-Ohio Stateline Classic All-Star football game this Thursday, many local players who ended their football careers last fall in the OHSAA state playoffs get one last chance to play a game. Many will not play football in college so this game signifies a special opportunity for them.
“It was really emotional because our freshman year through our junior year we only won a handful of games. Then we came out our senior year and we all had in our mind that our class could be the best and we just came out and worked hard every day,” East Palestine’s Josh Pickett reflected on the past year.
“I knew it was up in the air,” Pickett said of his thoughts of playing again after the Bulldogs were eliminated in the playoffs. “I knew there was this opportunity. There are a couple all-star games, but you never know if you are going to make it.”
“It was disappointing that we loss (playoffs), but I was hoping that I would make this all-star game or go on to play college ball,” Western Reserve’s Greg Brunner said.
His team mate T.J. Henry echoed those remarks, “It was unfortunate that we loss, but the all-star game was in the back of my mind, to get another game in.”
They both talked about the honor they had during their high school career to play a part in Western Reserve’s continued success on the gridiron, “It’s nice to know that we are keeping our tradition up. It’s expected for us in a small town, football is what we are known for so to be able to keep that tradition and to bring home those titles for our home town is a great feeling,” Henry said.
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Crestview is another school that has had a long tradition of success, and with that they placed three players on the Ohio Team. Lineman Jarred Jones, along with running backs Tyler Stratton and Zack Hicks.
“It just shows what Crestview can make out of some players,” Hicks said. “The coaching staff is unreal, the lifting program, some schools don’t offer what we offer and you just have to take advantage of those things.”
“It shows how we all come together and how we all work together, work hard, and that provides some of the players a good base to move on in our lives,” Strattton explained.
Unfortunately for Jones, he suffered an injury during the North-South game in May and may have to sit out this contest. They are hoping however, that he will be healthy enough to perform special teams duties to get a little playing time.
The Penn-Ohio Stateline Classic all-star game will be played this Thursday June 30th at Springfield Local’s Community Stadium. Player introductions start at 6:30PM with kickoff set at 7:00PM. Tickets for the game are $8.00 at the gate.